Monday, August 30, 2010

how to cook with a ripe kiwifruit

As August draws to a close, I can finally begin to regard the bar exam as a distant nightmare. I no longer think in terms of "before the bar exam" and "after the bar exam."

Still, I find myself cleaning up the last traces: deleting the link to the bar overseers website from my bookmarks folder, recycling practice essays when sorting papers, and relegating everything with the bar prep course logo on it to the trash. Oh, and rediscovering the kiwifruit I bought the weekend before I sat down to two days of hell.

Unlike the bookmarks and the old papers, however, the kiwifruit were a pleasant discovery. As I've written before, the best way to eat ripe kiwifruit is to buy them, leave them in your fridge, and completely forget about them for a month. Upon rediscovery, the kiwifruit will be ripe and perfect for eating. And once you've been sufficiently satiated, you can cook with them.

The quick options involve cutting the kiwifruit into slices or dice: throw them into fruit salad, garnish a pavlova, or make up a kiwifruit-topped custard tart. Turn kiwifruit into puree, however, and then you have more involved possibilities to play with. Creamy panna cotta with a vivid green sauce. Fool with a tropical twist. Even a decidedly non-traditional bellini.

To be perfectly honest, though, I prefer not to fuss too much with my kiwifruit puree. I like a plain, straightforward kiwifruit sorbet.
Well, almost. A touch of elderflower water enhances the floral, winey character of truly ripe kiwifruit, and it's also a bit of a culinary joke. Kiwifruit are also known as "Chinese gooseberries," and gooseberry and elderflower are a classic pairing in British cooking.

Kiwifruit puree. Simple syrup. A splash of elderflower pressé. A spell in an ice-cream churn, and a little time in the freezer. Smooth, luscious kiwifruit sorbet. Once the last bites are gone, and my ice-cream headache has cleared, I may not remember the bar exam at all.

Kiwifruit Elderflower Sorbet

Elderflower pressé is a sparkling elderflower drink. If you can't find it, substitute a teaspoon or two of St-Germain (elderflower liqueur) mixed with plain seltzer

(Makes approximately one-and-a-half cups.)

In a small saucepan, stir together a quarter-cup of sugar with a quarter-cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has fully dissolved and small bubbles rapidly form and break, about ten minutes or so. Turn off the heat. Set aside to cool.

Take six or seven small ripe kiwifruit and peel them carefully with a paring knife. Cut each in half and remove the white core. Cut into small chunks and press through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Discard the seeds.

Transfer the kiwifruit puree to a large measuring jug. Stir in the cooled sugar syrup, and add a pinch of salt. Stir in enough elderflower pressé to make one-and-a-half cups of liquid.

Churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve in chilled bowls or glasses.


Adrienne said...

I love kiwifruit sorbet; I made some last summer. Thanks for reminding me how delicious it was, and for the ripening tip :)

adele said...

Adrienne - You're welcome. :)

Cakelaw said...

Ths sounds devine! I have never cooked with kiwifruit, although I love to eatthem. Glad to hear the bar exam is over - ugghh!

Cakelaw said...

PS Haven't forgotten about the dessert recipe you requested - just trying to find a spare moment to find it out and send it.

adele said...

Cakelaw - I think they might be best eaten just as they are, but sometimes, creativity strikes. :)

I'll keep an eye out for the recipe. No rush - I have to get to a kitchen with a working oven first!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Oh wow. That kiwi sorbet looks lovely. I haven't bought a kiwi in years ... and I don't know why. Perhaps I'll snag some and let them hang out in the fridge for a while. ;)

Cakelaw said...

Hi Adele, The recipe is very easy. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. For the apples, just slice them on a mandolin (use one apple per person). Put a single layer on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, and sprinkle lightly with brown sugar and dob a few small knobs of butter on top. Repeat layers with as many apples as you have sliced (but only put butter on the top and bottom layers). Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. For the marscapone, mix 200g of marscapone with the zest and juice of 1-2 blood oranges, several pinches of cardamom and a tablespoon or so of honey to taste. Your can mix the honey with some juice and drizzle over the top to get the decorative effect if you like. The recipe is that imprecise - it's all about taste. Serve slices of the baked apples with the marscapone on the side.

adele said...

Plum - I don't think that's too surprising. Kiwifruit are underwhelming when they're underripe, and they're only ever sold horribly underripe.

Cakelaw - Thank you! I might have to wait a bit for blood oranges (wrong season in this hemisphere), but I'll keep it in mind once it starts to get colder.